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Festive Flights For First Freedom Air Passengers

Media release
1 May 2001

Festive Flights For First Freedom Air Passengers

Freedom Air carried close to 500 passengers on its inaugural domestic flights today, serving Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch sectors. It had 350 passengers booked on the flights and picked up another 140 passengers disrupted by Air New Zealand flight cancellations. These included MPs Richard Prebble and Nandor Tanczos.

Freedom Air vice-president/general manager Wayne Dodge said the response had been excellent. ¡§It¡¦s been fantastic. I think we kept our promises. We said we¡¦d operate very quickly and we have.¡¨

There was a festive atmosphere on board the first flights, with passengers welcomed on board by a guard of honour dressed in Freedom Air yellow and giving out sunflowers. Live inflight entertainment on all flights bar the first one out of Auckland was provided by members of the Nairobi Trio jazz band. The band could not play on the first flight due to lack of space.

The company operated six flights altogether ¡V Auckland/Wellington, Wellington/Christchurch, Christchurch/Wellington, Wellington/Auckland, Auckland/Christchurch, Christchurch/Auckland. Bookings for the flights only opened yesterday.

¡§We already have a good number of customers. Our commitment was to start a scheduled service with or without big passenger loads and we have done that,¡¨ Mr Dodge said. People only had one day to book and I expect the loads will start building over time.

Freedom Air is a no-frills value airline offering customers cut-rate fares on daily flights. It already has more than 3000 bookings for domestic flights over the next two months.

Qantas last night announced one month price cuts on fares between Auckland and Wellington and between Auckland and Christchurch. The Auckland/Wellington return fare is $150 and the Auckland/Christchurch return is $178. Freedom Air responded by matching the fares, dropping its Auckland/Wellington return fare from $159 and its Auckland/Christchurch fare from $199 . Its Wellington/Christchurch return fare is $139.



„h Freedom Air International launches November 8, 1995 as a value-based airline operating between New Zealand and Australia. The name Freedom is chosen to reflect the aim of the airline ¡V freeing people from the daily grind and giving them the opportunity to fly cheaply. The sun logo is chosen to reflect the sun, sea and relaxed atmosphere of holidays.

„h The first Freedom Air flight takes off December 8, carrying 56 people between Auckland and Sydney. Flights available from Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Aircraft and pilots, cabin crew and engineers wet leased from UK-based Britannia Airways.

„h Freedom Air¡¦s Open Skies reservations system goes live April 18,1996. Freedom Air now the first totally ticketless airline in the Pacific.

„h Flights from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch cease on April 27, 1996 in favour of greater focus on flights from Hamilton and Dunedin and a new provincial gateway in Palmerston North.

„h On March 31, 1997, Freedom Air gets its own Air Services Certificate and is now able to operate in its own right. It begins operations April 5 with its own 737-300, the first New Zealand registered aircraft of that type.

„h Freedom celebrates carriage of 200,000th passenger, August 20 1997.

„h April 15, 1998, Freedom launches its website,

„h March 29, 1999, Freedom stops paying travel agents commission on bookings, passing on savings to passengers. Return airfares between Hamilton/Palmerston North and Sydney drop $50 to $399.

„h Freedom offers extra savings for passengers who book through the airline¡¦s internet site.

„h First Freedom Melbourne flight launched ex Palmerston North, December 19 1999.

„h Freedom launches inaugural flight to Fiji on March 29 2000, and first Dunedin-Melbourne flight on November 1, 2000.

„h May 1, 2001. Freedom launches domestic air service with value flights between Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

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